Republic of Korea names an open tidal flat

02/12/2010

The Republic of Korea has designated its 13th Wetland of International Importance, Seocheon Tidal Flat (1,530 hectares; 36°00´N 126°30´E) located in the Chungcheongnam Province.


The Seocheon Tidal Flat was also designated by the Ministry of Land Transport and Maritime Affairs as a Wetland Protected Area on January 30, 2008. The site is located in the middle of the western coast of the Republic of Korea. As summarized by Marian Gwilliam, Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Asia-Oceania, the Seocheon Tidal Flat is an open tidal flat directly linked to the ocean, its ecosystem is composed of a combination of sand and/or muddy sand flats which are very important breeding and feeding habitats for migratory birds.

The site is also a spawning and nursery ground for fish. This Ramsar Site supports globally threatened bird species such as the vulnerable Saunders’ Gull (Larus saundersi), the critically endangered Spoon-billed sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus) and the endangered Spotted Greenshank (Tringa guttifer). This wetland supports 1% of the population of Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), providing an important habitat for over 3,000 individuals as a stopover site during winter and as a breeding area.


There are 125 species of fish which include the River Puffer (Takifugu obscurus), Korean Rockfish (Sebastes schlegelii), and other marine life such as the Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica) and 95 species of macro benthic animals. Locals take advantage of the farming tracts and paddy fields in surrounding areas. Various marine food can be harvested including shellfish such as clams (Ruditapes philippinarum and Dongjuk, Mactra veneriformis), octopus (Octopus membranaceus) and crustaceans such as the Korean Shrimp (Penaeus chinensis). Threats to the area include extraction of living organisms from the tidal flat and increased pollution in the surrounding areas. The Division of Fisheries and Ocean Division (Chungcheongnam-do province) is directly responsible for managing this diverse and culturally rich wetland.


Photos by KHT

Other Ramsar Sites in Rep. of Korea are described here.

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